OPEC, the oil cartel, scheduled a special meeting for Nov. 18 amid expectations that it will vote to reduce production. The group reportedly anticipates an 870,000-barrel-a-day drop in demand next year, most of it among developed countries. In electronic trading Wednesday, the price per barrel of crude for November delivery appeared ready to close at around $75.50, down almost $2.70 from the day before.

Al Qaeda's second-in-command in Iraq was confirmed Wednesday as having been killed by US forces earlier this month. A senior US military spokesman in Baghdad said Abu Qaswarah, a Moroccan national, died in an Oct. 5 raid on Mosul, where the Sunni terrorist organization has chosen to make its stand after being driven out of other regions of the country.

Saying he'd "hold out a hand to all members of all parties," Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada savored a reelection victory Wednesday. He was the first government leader to risk his political future at the polls since the global financial crisis erupted last month. But although his strategy in calling an early election paid off, his party again fell short of a majority in Parliament. With vote-counting all but complete, the Conservatives won or were leading in races for 143 seats. They needed 155 to govern on their own.

All month-old food products made from milk were ordered off store shelves in China Wednesday after another child fell ill after eating cookies tainted by the chemical melamine. The products may be offered for sale again if they pass quality-control tests, the Xinhua news agency reported. The move came more than a month after the tainted-milk scandal erupted. In another food-safety issue, Chinese-grown frozen beans were pulled from supermarket cases in Japan after they were found to be contaminated by toluene, a pesticide.

Ignoring diplomatic warnings to curb their separatist rhetoric, ethnic Serb legislators in Bosnia voted Wednesday to demand the right to hold a referendum on secession. They also called for increased autonomy in majority-Serb areas from the central government in Sarajevo. Neither measure is binding, but analysts said they would deepen the Serb feud with Bosnia's Croat and Muslim populations and reinforce doubts that it can gain admission to the European Union.

Turning yet another South American country leftward, Peru's president swore in a new government Tuesday, less than a week after his previous cabinet resigned en masse in a bribery scandal. Critics suggested that Alan Garcia chose a popular regional governor, Yehude Simon , as prime minister in hopes of being seen as fighting corruption. Simon was jailed in the 1990s for his alleged ties to leftist rebels.

US citizens traveling to Mexico were warned to exercise extra caution after 23 more people were found dead in or near two border cities in violence blamed on rival drug cartels. The State Department called Ciudad Juárez "a situation of special concern." More than 1,000 people have been killed there so far this year, 11 of them this week. Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, where 12 of the latest victims were found, both are astride major drug smuggling routes into the US.

Former Time magazine correspondent Aravind Adiga was named the winner of the $87,000 Booker Prize, the second major award in literature to be presented in two weeks. Adiga, an Indian national, was honored for "The White Tiger," a darkly comic novel about a rickshaw puller's son who escapes poverty when a wealthy family hires him as its chauffeur, exposing him to big-city life. Last week, the Nobel Prize in literature went to French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave LeClezio.

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